Serve or be Served

To serve or to be served? Which is harder? I am finding out that being laid up with a broken foot is not easy. Not because the foot hurts so much. It doesn’t. But the lack of mobility has gotten to me the most—having to ask for so much help!

Leaving a restaurant tonight on crutches, a young man held the door open for me. He started to tell me about the broken bones he has had. I joked with him that I broke it in the X Games, when truth be told I tripped on a dip in a lawn. I told him how inconvenient it’s been! He agreed. He said after he broke his foot, and couldn’t even get a glass of water, he never looked at walking the same way again. I have a feeling I will be the same!

This has helped me to see my dad in a new light. He has had Parkinson’s for years. I realized that I don’t mind waiting on him when I am with him. I don’t mind pushing him in his wheelchair when needed, or driving for him since he can’t drive any more. But what I didn’t realize was how very much he might be minding it. When I look at a bowl across the room right now and know that it will take me much longer to reach it and pick it up to carry it into the kitchen than it will take my husband on two good legs, I am reminded of my dad. He has trouble getting out of a chair. I can usually hop right up. He has trouble walking across a room. I understand how frustrating that can be now. We take these things for granted until we lose them.

A friend said today that, “You can’t be a good servant until you are a good receiver.” I want to be a good servant, to serve God with all my heart and soul. But to receive requires vulnerability—realizing that we aren’t all that and a bag of chips. We aren’t independent. We aren’t self-sufficient. My dad has learned that well in the last 20 years. I rarely see him grumpy. I’ve already been grumpy, and it’s been less than a week. I don’t want to bother anyone, not even my husband. My dad has had to “bother” people for years. Serving can be hard work, but being served seems harder. Our pastor said last Sunday that humility requires accepting God’s total assessment about who we are. God is showing me that without Him, and all He gives to me, including good health, I am lost.

Searching And Noticing the Divine comes in many shapes and sizes. Right now, it’s coming in the shape of noticing how hard it is to receive—to be served. It’s coming in the size of my importance in serving compared to the size of God’s Son and how He came to serve us with His life. No matter what we do for Jesus, we can never out-serve Him. Jesus’ gift of salvation is exactly that, a total gift…not to be earned independently, but to be received because of the Father’s great love for us, and His desire to help us. Will we sit still and open our heart saying, “Yes, I will take all that You have to give.” It is our only way into Heaven. We cannot WALK there on our own—even on two good legs. We have to be carried in the strong and forgiving arms of our Savior, Jesus. As hard as that might be to be served in that way, it has to be. It is humbling. It is amazing. It is priceless.

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve,
and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Mark 10:45 (NIV)